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Mobile email viewership is climbing: Some 23% of email messages were viewed via mobile device* during the six months ended September 2011, up 34% from the previous six-month period, according to study by Return Path, which also found that Monday is the worst day of the week for mobile email viewership.

The growth in mobile came at the expense of webmail (e.g., Yahoo, Gmail) and desktop viewership: 

  • Webmail opens accounted for 44% of email opens in the six months ended September 2011, down 11% from the previous six-month period. 
  • Desktop opens accounted for 33% of opens, down 9.5%. 

Below, other findings from the study by Return Path, based on email campaigns sent from April to September 2011.  

Among email messages viewed via desktop, Outlook accounted for 63% of views, followed by Apple Mail with 31%. The next closest were Thunderbird and AOL Desktop with about 3% of email views each.

iPad Use Skyrocketing

The total number of opens via iPad in the six months ended September increased 73% over the previous six-month period. Email views via iPad jumped 12% between March and April, when the iPad 2 launched, then continued steadily upward.


Looking for solid, substantiated information about email from the industry's best resources? The 67-page Email Marketing Factbook featuring 39 charts tells you about email usage, what captures users' attention, and how organizations are using email to reach customers. This email factbook consists of chapters 1 & 2 from the larger Digital Marketing Factbook a 144-page compilation of data and 110 charts that also covers search engine marketing and social media.

How Day of Week Affects Email Use

Email viewing—and the devices people use to access email—vary during the week. For example, there is a big dip in desktop usage over the weekend, with a corresponding rise in both mobile and webmail use:

Monday seems the worst day of the week for mobile email viewership, with mobile opens at their week-long low.

* The term mobile is defined in this report as mobile email, with opens recorded wherever the user is within the mobile environment, including the native email client, as well as email opens on a mobile Web browser or within an email app. Also included are opens on smartphones and tablets.

About the data: Return Path's research data was compiled using its Campaign Insight tool, examining six months of data (April 2011 to September 2011) from more than 90 different clients across 130 million data points.

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Email Viewership Report: Opens via iPad Up 73%

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